Friday, March 26, 2010

The Marlborough region with Jim and Adena

In a final recap of our visit from Jake's parents, I'll share some photos from our trip down to the Marlborough region on the South Island. We took our car on the ferry from Wellington to Picton, and let me tell you those waters were rough!

But we quickly recovered and kicked things off with a wine tour. This area is best known for its sauvignon blancs, which are my favourite. They also produce pinot gris, riesling, gewurtztraminer (best with Thai food, I learned), some chardonnay and pinot noir.

I think Jim enjoyed the wines, but was pretty excited to find this book that featured a photo of a dog driving a car.

In Blenheim we stayed in a beautiful little holiday house there hosted by some friendly Kiwis Gill and Richard. They even invited us to enjoy a drink with them in their bar room after our wine tour. By that point, we'd tasted more than 20 or so wines and were feeling rather good. So later we had a pizza delivered and called it an early night!

Also in Blenheim we visited an aviation museum that housed several WWI era war planes and replicas. Then we were off to see the Marlborough Sounds and Queen Charlotte Track, one of NZ's great walks.

The short water taxi ride was much easier on my stomach than the 3-hour interisland ferry.

We put on our hiking shoes and started walking. Since we weren't staying long, we didn't need to bring much -- just put all our stuff in Jake's and Jim's backpacks. Thanks for carrying our stuff guys! We saw some beautiful sights on our walks, some under the canopy of the trees and some open views of the sounds.

My favourite quote of the entire trip is from Jim: "This place would be pretty cool if you had monkeys here."

We walked some, but mostly we spent plenty of time relaxing. The weather was just perfect. Strangely we saw a tonne of jellyfish in the water, so swimming was out of the question, but the guys had the chance to do a bit of fishing.

The guys didn't have any bait and only were able to borrow some very meager fishing equipment, so they picked some muscles from out of the water, smashed them open with their boots (no tools handy) and used the meat for bait. The entire process took about 20 minutes to set up the first time and within five seconds of being in the water it had been stolen. Those fish had seen that trick before.

Some friendly fishermen nearby shared a bit of bait with them and they were able to reel in a couple of fish, but I think they were having fun just trying new techniques.

We stayed a night each at Te Mahia and the Portage Resort and both were nice and relaxing. We spent some time exploring each one and decided that this jetty that was closed for safety reasons was a perfect spot for a family photo.

I thought it turned out well, but we had to watch where we stepped as some of the boards were either rotted through or loose. No wonder it was closed.

We came back to the main restaurant for dinner that evening. We were taking in the beautiful sunset when this chap in a kilt walks by and Adena excitedly but politely asks if she can have a photo with him.

The conversation immediately following this photo:
Adena: "So are you with the wedding party we've seen here tonight?"
Kilt guy: "Yes I'm the groom."
Adena: [gasps, goes bright red and starts apologising like she's just met a famous person]

It was all good fun though because he was very friendly. Not so sure why the Starship Enterprise is in the photo, but I still like this pic.

For our ferry back to Wellington, we were on a much larger boat -- it could hold up to 1,600 people and 600 vehicles. And the seas were much calmer, which made for a very pleasant trip.

The guys spent some of the time wandering around the boat, but much of the time they were watching the scores of the Kansas State game. They've been hauling their tournament bracket printout to each location on our journey, so their prized little piece of paper was getting pretty ratty by now. We took this photo after Jake realised his dad had used it as a coaster.

We had such a great time with you guys -- thanks so much for coming all this way to visit. We'll never forget it.



Dave said...

That looks like a good time. It's not every day you get a pic of a guy in a kilt standing under a UFO. Sorry about KState....but they did outlast KU.

yer mum said...

Wow, all the pictures are so great of you two, Jim & Adena. I bet all four of you had a time that you will forever treasure. The photos are beautiful!